Saturday, May 2, 2015

Copyright and Creative Commons - Where are we headed?

Wikipedia defines copyright as the legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution, usually for a limited time (typically the life of the creator, plus fifty to a hundred years), with the intention of enabling the creator to receive compensation for their intellectual effort. The original intent of copyright law was designed to promote the creation of new works by giving creators control of and profit from the work. Although the original copyright law appeared well-intentioned, it has often been interrupted in ways that focus only on the financial gain of the creator or corporation, and does little to promote the creation of original work. Creative works are thankfully developed when creators have the creative fire to do so and copyright law appears to have little impact on when, how, or why the work is created.

Creative Commons offers a more flexible approach to copyright law. Creative Commons is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the creative reuse of intellectual and artistic works – whether owned or in the public domain. The Creative Common provides creators the ability to allow others to use their works for commercial purposes, or not; to make derivative works, or not. Creative Commons was based on the idea of universal access to research, education, and culture, made possible by the Internet. The Internet did not exist in the original copyright law era and the new technology does not fit within the laws as they were originally designed. Creative Commons offers creators the ability to select which license works for them when they have completed their work and they will no longer need to field requests to use their work. There are several options to choose from that can allow creators to be as limited or unlimited with their work as they choose; even allowing full rights to modify the work as long as some integrity remains in the original work.  The only downside that I have noticed in Creative Commons is that there does not appear to be a way to update or change the creator's original option. It would be ideal if a creator could choose one type of license and then ten years later change the option, based on their lifestyle changes.

In my opinion, I believe that Creative Commons is a model that allows for better collaboration between creators and users and retains the original intention of copyright law, which is to promote creation of new works.